Penn-Trafford notebook: Solomon leads Warriors hockey team past Butler

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Sunday, January 15, 2023 | 11:01 AM


After opening 2023 with two consecutive losses, the Penn-Trafford ice hockey team found the winning touch Jan. 10 with a 6-1 victory against Butler.

Penn-Trafford (8-4) lost to Thomas Jefferson, 6-1, and Hempfield, 7-5, the first week of the new year.

Thanks to a four-goal and one-assist effort from Xavier Solomon, the Warriors blew by the Golden Tornado.

Garrett Rechtorik and Ben Zierski also had goals for the Warriors. Rechtorik added two assists.

Solomon now has 15 goals and eight assists this season. Nate Loughner has eight goals and 12 assists.

Penn-Trafford faced rival Franklin Regional on Jan. 17 and gets a rematch against Thomas Jefferson on Jan. 27.

Rifle drops first match

The Penn-Trafford rifle team lost its first match of the season Jan. 10 to Mt. Lebanon, 798.65 to 798.55.

The Warriors fell short in the number of bulls-eyes which gave Mt. Lebanon the win.

Leading the way for Penn-Trafford was Carlee Valenta with 100-10x, followed by Michael Koreen 100-9x, Nessa Wright 100-8x, Seth Baughman 100-7x, Mallory McRae 100-6x, Ivy Thomas 100-6x, Brian Broadwater 99-5x and Emily Valenta 99-4x.

Penn-Trafford returned to action Jan. 12 against Plum and Jan. 17 against Armstrong.

DeSantis wins gold

Luke DeSantis captured the 115-pound crown Jan. 6 at the Southmoreland Junior High wrestling tournament.

He went 4-0 and defeated Valley’s Alex Wylly, 9-0, in the finals.

Teammate Ivan Ratesic finished fourth at 94 pounds.

P-T grad to lead Norwin football

Mike Brown learned a lot in his two years as football coach at Hempfield.

His time there might have been brief, but the knowledge he collected looks to be long-lasting.

“A lot of valuable lessons,” Brown said. “I am very grateful to (athletic director) Brandon (Rapp) for believing in me. I was lucky to be surrounded by so many good people on my staff. The players bought into what we preached.”

Brown hopes to take his experience with him as he joins another Westmoreland County program that is looking to turn a corner.

Brown, 32, was hired Jan. 9 as coach at Norwin, three days after he resigned at Hempfield.

“Mike has great qualifications and has proven himself at Hempfield,” Norwin athletic director Mike Burrell said. “He is a great young coach with a bright future.”

Even though he is entering enemy territory, so to speak, because he is a Penn-Trafford graduate, Brown is eager to lead his alma mater’s bitter rival.

“Trust me, I was bombarded with texts from (Penn-Trafford) guys already,” Brown said with a laugh. “They let me know about it.

“I always had an eye on (Norwin) and coaching there. It is on par for what I am looking for. The thing is, my grandpa taught at Norwin and was on the P-T school board after, so there is a little connection there. My uncle told me ‘Pap would be proud of you.’ ”

Brown is a full-time middle school gym teacher at Penn-Trafford.

“I see the full spectrum, from 12(-year-olds) to 12th graders,” Brown said. “I know how to tie a shoe, I can tell you that.”

At Norwin, he replaces Dave Brozeski, who led the Knights for nine seasons. He was 31-58 with four WPIAL playoff appearances, the last in 2017.

After graduating in 2009 from Penn-Trafford, where he was a wide receiver and defensive back under coach Art Tragesser, Brown played at Mercyhurst.

Tragesser, a longtime coach at Jeannette, coached at Penn-Trafford before finishing his time on the sidelines at Norwin.

“I thought about that, too,” Brown said. “He was a big influence on me.

“It’s similar here to Hempfield. We’re going to adapt to the personnel we have. We’re not going to put a circle in a square peg.”

Staff writer Bill Beckner Jr. contributed.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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